Today (wednesday) is roger’s birthday. Roger Attfield is tina’s partner. He is a hall of fame race horse trainer. He has been one of the worlds top race horse trainers for the past 40 years. He is currently based at Payson Park in Florida, where most of Americas top trainers are based at this time of year.
Tina and I went to feed our horses first thing then ran down to Publix (Florida’s version of Tesco) to pick up a big birthday cake and of course a bottle of champagne. We drove to Payson Park where roger was training, as he does from 5.30 every morning. We were stood by the rail where the trainers give their riders instructions and watch their horses.
Tina cracked open the champers and offered it round. Roger had been trying to this point to keep his birthday quite. His cover was now well and truly blown. As all the trainers were enjoying a glass of bubbles. tina felt the need to tell the owners present that it wasn’t a normal occurrence for the trainers, that they were paying top money to, for training their horses, to be drinking at 10am.
When rogers set had finished we followed him back to his stable block where I was reacquainted with some of the riders and horses, where a year earlier, I had my first taste of riding a fully fit flat race horse for 2 circuits of the mile long grass track. An experience I hope to repeat at some stage this year.
As you can imagine this was a slow start to the day. We didn’t make it back to tina’s horses until nearly mid day. At which time we were left with all the stables still to do, Turn out, as well as exercising the horses. At this stage I was a little worried I may still be there at midnight.
Fortunately the day was made a little easier as just before 2pm the vet arrived to vaccinate a couple of the horses. As I’m sure your aware in england we vaccinate for flu and tetanus. This is also required in America but in addition to this they also cover west nile, rhino, rabies. Civilitus and eastern/western.
I also discovered something equally shocking today. The hay I had been feeding since my arrival was nearly $45/bale. These are just normal sized hay bales. Which works out at nearly £30 each. We think £7/bale is bad!
Rogers birthday was completed with a great meal that tina cooked of fillet steak and king crab claws followed by and evening of american x factor.